HOW TO CHOOSE A WOODWORKING COMPASS

Without craftsmanship, inspiration is a mere reed shaken in the wind.

Johannes Brahms

How excited were you when you first used the compass in geometry class?

It was probably the best feeling in the world because you felt like you had the chance to use it to create any shape or form you desired and bring your mental design ideas to life.

You also found out about dividers and straight edges in mechanical drawing, and it amused you. Although your drawings didn’t have precision, Your elementary drawings accepted it at that level.

Now we live in a world of measurements and navigation, Using a compass or divider is necessary for many woodworking projects to accurately create your shapes and unique designs.

What is the difference between a compass and a divider?

 The difference between a compass and a divider is a compass is a drafting instrument with a pencil point and a sharp point positioned at the center of your circle. In contrast, a divider has two sharp points, one for the center and the other for marking or scribing. 

Difference between compass vs. Divider?

The compass is most often used to test our ideas on paper, while we use dividers to transfer those proportions to the pieces we build.

The terms compass and divider are interchanged quite often, for You can use each instrument to draw circles, mark divisions or mark the distance. The word caliper is a fabrication from the word caliber: the diameter of a caliper hole or a cylindrical or spherical body.

The caliper has an outside and the inward type, the outside caliper has two inwardly curved legs that the diameters of solids created when rotating tools are used, such as lathe-turned objects, and the inside caliper has outwardly curved legs used for measuring bores.

When to use a Compass?

Marking layout, stepping off distances, comparing gaps and openings, maintaining precision, saving time, and increase accuracy. These are just a few of the useful combinations of features you’ll use a compass in your woodwork, metalwork, leatherwork, and carpentry projects.

KNOW YOUR WOODWORKING COMPASS

  • A woodworking compass is the same thing as a divider. 
  • Comprises a beam and sliding sockets or cursors for drawing and sketching circles.
  • It is used to scribe a circle, either by an attached pencil or ink pen.
  • Sometimes it is done with a sharpened point. 
  • You can adjust the radius of the circle by sliding the metal point holder across a metal bar or beam made of wood. 
  • It is locked in position by turning a knob at the designed location.
  • The radius adjuster may come in various forms. 
  • Woodworking compasses can be as a whole or assembled on the spot with individual sockets (trammel points) and any suitable beam.

Background of Woodworking Compass

Dividers and calipers go as far back as in the Greeks and Romans era, though the caliper was uncommon. 

In 1245, a divider with a circular sector or wing connecting the two legs was sketched. Its modern counterpart is the wing divider which has a thumbscrew clamp and screw for fine adjustments. 

The caliper was spoken of in the Middle Ages, but the principal tool then was the divider. The caliper was the architect’s tool working on full-scale layouts of stonework, such as in the construction of synagogues and cathedrals—the dividers were large and often were half as tall as an average man.

Architects did various refinements on the dividers that made it a vital drafting instrument for Albrecht Dürer and Leonardo da Vinci, as Leonardo suggested.

The improvements included the knuckle-joint hinge (to increase rigidity) and the adjustable proportional divider. The Roman proportional dividers had a fixed pivot that gave a single ratio and, therefore, could not be used for a broad range of work.

According to Leonardo’s notes, it was discovered that the beam compass had a screw adjustment for drawing large radii and a compass that had replaceable points in which one of its legs had a clamp for attaching different drawing media, such as graphite or chalk.

CHOOSING A WOODWORKING COMPASS

In selecting a woodworking divider(compass), You must consider several factors. Among these factors are three majors points that should influence your choice of woodworking dividers;

1. The size: choose a durable-sized divider that fits the level of operation you want to carry out. The most preferred sizes are 6-inch, 8 to 12-inch dividers and small 3 to 4-inch dividers. Size range-3″, 4″, 6″, 8″, 10″, 12″, 18″, 24″, 36″.

2. The difference in spring: the critical factor here is the rigidity of the spring. The spring must be strong and adequately suited for the movement of a large diameter fulcrum nut to stop the legs’ ideal movement.

3. The wing dividers must have hardened points to ensure the dividers will have a long wear life. They come in an array of sizes such as; 6″, 8″, 12″, 18″ and 24″.

Best Woodworking Compass

Below are three specific woodworking compass models (dividers) that are recommended for anyone looking to do woodworking, carpentry, metalworking, or leatherworking.

Ally Spring Divider Woodworking Compass

1.) ALLY Tools 8-Inch Precision Spring Divider with Pencil Holder Kit:

Specifications:

Item Weight: 4.8 ounces

Dimensions: 9.5 x 2.44 x 0.24 inches

Manufacturer: ALLY Tools and Parts Corp

Part Number: SDPH8K

Material: Carbon Steel

Spring dividers are essential in any woodworker’s workshop. The spring divider has sturdy metal construction and strong metal tips. ALLY Tools and Parts sells a line of woodworking dividers unique and perfect for comparing gaps, openings, doing repeat measurements, and stepping off distances.

This 8 inch model features a speed nut that increases or decreases the span of the divider. To make small adjustments, you can do small rotations on the speed nut to your preferred measurement. The metal tips on this spring divider are perfect for doing accurate repeat measurements without constantly referring to a tape rule or measurer. The spring divider body is made of strong carbon steel that is durable and will last long for many years. ALLY Tools 8-inch precision spring dividers are great for transferring measurements. They save time and don’t require you to use a calculator, scratch paper, and a ruler to count off tiny increments.

This spring divider also features a pencil holder for drawing circles and arcs with ease. Each pack of ALLY Tools spring divider comes with two half pencils and a metal pencil sharpener. These pencils fit concisely inside the divider’s pencil holder. This tool is highly recommended for anyone looking to do woodworking, carpentry, metalworking, or leatherworking.

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2. ALLY Tools 8 Inch Precision Wing Divider with Pencil Holder Kit: 

Specifications:

Item Weight: 8.2 ounces

Dimensions: 9.09 x 3.54 x 0.59 inches

Manufacturer: ALLY Tools and Parts Corp

Part Number: WDPH8K

Material: Carbon Steel

As part of the design, the wing divider has a pencil holder for drawing circles and arcs with ease. Each ALLY Tools wing divider pack comes with two half pencils and a metal pencil sharpener. These pencils fit comfortably inside the pencil holder. This tool is recommended for anyone looking to follow a woodworking path, carpentry, metal-working or leatherworking.

ALLY Tools are an essential tool for woodworkers and leather workers. They are a key scribe tool that features a line of wing dividers. We cannot emphasize the importance of a reliable wing divider enough as they are used to step off distances, comparing gaps, openings, laying out measurements, and doing repeat measurements. A standard wing divider has strong metal tips and sturdy metal construction. A great wing divider that performs an ideal divider’s necessary functions is the ALLY Tool 8-inch precision wing divider with a pencil holder kit.

The ALLY Tools 8-inch wing divider feature a wing nut that you can loosen to expand and contract each leg according to your desired specified length. This divider style is an excellent choice for quickly moving between two drastically different measurements by unlocking the wing nut and sliding one of the legs. The metal tips on this wing divider are efficient for doing accurate repeat measurements without continually referring to a measuring tape or a ruler. The tips are sharp enough to ensure high accuracy inscribing on to wood, metal, ceramic, and leather. The wing divider body is composed wholly of strong carbon steel that will not bend or wear over time. These models are great for transferring measurements. They will save you time and effort from repeatedly counting off tiny increments from a ruler and redoing measurements from a tape measure that may eventually be slightly different from the desired measurement.

wing divider scribe tool

3. ALLY Tools 12 Inch Precision Wing Divider with Pencil Holder Kit

Dimensions: 12.2 x 2.83 x 0.39 inches

Manufacturer: ALLY Tools and Parts Corp

Part Number: WDPH12K

Material: Carbon Steel

If you are in the market to purchase large wing divider tools, you should consider the ALLY Tool-12-inch divider with a pencil holder for your next woodworking and leatherworking project.

Finding a safe and reliable wing divider is extremely important for precision-oriented work to ensure your material’s scribing and marking is as accurate as possible.

Features of a reliable wing divider include having strong metal end tips and sturdy metal construction. ALLY tools’ 12-inch wing divider embodies these necessary characteristics to be considered a branded reliable divider.

One of its unique features includes a tightening wing nut that allows you to loosen, expand and contract one of its legs to create large or small circles.

It’s constructed in style to be excellent for quickly changing between two drastically different measurements by unlocking the wing nut or sliding one leg. The wing divider’s metal tips are perfect for doing accurate repeat measurements without continually referring to a ruler or tape measurer.

The tips are sharp enough to ensure high accuracy in wood, metal, ceramic, and leather materials. The wing divider body is made entirely of strong carbon steel that will stand the test of time and operational pressure.

They are particularly great for transferring measurements as they will save you time and effort from repeatedly adding and removing tiny increments when counting from a ruler and correcting measurements from a tape measure. Essentially, they are more efficient.

To complement the wing divider design, it is crafted to a pencil holder for drawing circles and arcs with ease and precision.
12 Inch Wing Divider

It is quite impressive when we quantify what we see in designs and how much it only requires dividers. As technology advances and more people tilt towards mechanized operation, dividers may not get a lot attention as before.

Dividers are easy to adjust, so it maximizes time and saves effort and you don’t end up wasting time with scratch paper and a calculator or squinting to count off tiny increments and calibrations on a rule. The best part is: you can pick up a pair for just a few bucks and not drill a hole in your pocket.

  • February 23, 2021
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